We are rounding the corner on the initial funding. The project is just over 80% of the way there with plenty of time to make the $1000 goal. I didn’t anticipate such an enthusiastic response. The funding will remain open until October 15 and I will continue to seek backing over and above the initial amount. ALL money over $1000 will go to more launches and putting together some kind of best-practices manual. As long as we recover the payload intact, each launch will cost a balloon, helium and man-hours; ~$250-300 best guess.
I may take a poll (if there’s a second launch) as to what you want to get out of it. We might change locations slightly OR try to make a very public launch that everyone can participate in OR bring in some school kids OR attempt a really early launch in the dark that might render a more dramatic photo of a sun right on the limb (curve) of the Earth.
Thank you Everyone for showing interest. These updates will soon shift to weekly(?) blurbs about budgeting decisions and equipment purchases.
There should be PLENTY to fund 2 cameras and high quality tracking for the payload. My intent is a down-facing camera to document a top down view during accent and descent. Backers from Central Texas will enjoy a google-map-like view of the area. From 80-100k feet we should get clear images of a 60(?) mile radius depending on the lens and aspect ratios.
The side-facing camera will be more dramatic. From 80-100k feet we will be above 99% of the atmosphere and we will see the BLACK of space while in full sunshine and a thin blue curve of the Earth.
Recovering the payload will be the key so I intend to invest a LOT of effort and resources on the payload container, the parachute, a GPS Spot locator and external antennas. Because of the funding level that you’ve provided us to work with, we should be able to move to a new class of tracking and transmission and we won’t have to rely on cellular coverage and connectivity.
Oh, and local folks… I will need help with launch and probably recovery. As long as you are VERY flexible you are ‘in’ for operations day. I don’t want a circus, this will be nerve-wracking to begin with. This WHOLE thing depends on weather, winds aloft, recovery zones etc. It might be a late night and an early morning, but it’ll be fun.
Stand by for more details. Don’t forget to tell your friends. Thank you all for you support and encouragement.